Gahanna City Council has approved a rezoning request that opens the door for a senior-living facility on Taylor Road.

In a 4-3 decision, council granted a request by applicant Ross Oberhausen of Kentucky-based DMK Development Group, to rezone 5.7 acres at 748 and 760 Taylor Road from single-family residential to suburban office. The change would allow DMK to create a 115-unit senior-living facility at the site.

DMK, in partnership with Trilogy Health Care, has plans for a nursing home and assisted-living beds, as well as a rehabilitation component.

Council reconsidered the legislation March 19, after a 3-3 vote last month rejected the rezoning.

Council members who voted in favor of the rezoning March 19 were Jamie Leeseberg, Karen Angelou, Brian Metzbower and Stephen Renner.

Brian Larick, Michael Schnetzer and Nancy McGregor voted "no."

Gahanna City Attorney Shane Ewald said this marked the third case he's experienced in which council reconsidered legislation.

He said it's uncommon, but legal.

Ewald said Gahanna City Code Section 11.06 allows council a period of 60 days -- beyond the 90 days after the planning commission makes a recommendation -- for changes in, or additions to, any zoning ordinance.

Leeseberg said the senior-living facility is a good use for the property.

"Trilogy, the developer, has provided more information than they were required to per the application, and that's what we're picking on is the details that they provided -- the fact they're going with landscaping. We're talking about the size of the bushes and the number of bushes and how big is the footprint and how many parking spaces," he said.

"We're missing the fact that this is a good use on this property," he said.

He encouraged residents who are passionate about the project to follow the process in which the proposal will go to the planning commission for a final development plan and design review.

Leeseberg said Gahanna would benefit from the $18.5 million project, and those projects don't come along every day.

"The impact to this area, the impact to this community and just the catalyst of seeing new things built in Gahanna, instead of constantly saying 'no,' will be a catalyst for great things," he said.

The applicant estimates the facility will generate about 130 full- and part-time jobs, with an average salary of $32,500 for an overall payroll of $4,225,000.

Based on Gahanna's income tax rate of 1.5 percent, the city would receive $63,375 annually.

Schnetzer said he voted "no" on the rezoning, because he wanted to see the outcome of a land-use plan being studied for the Taylor Road corridor.

McGregor said she thinks a nursing home is a good use for the property.

"My problem is size of the building for the size of the lot," she said. "As is, I think the building is too big for the property. It doesn't fit into the scale of the neighborhood that surrounds it. That's my objection to it."

"My heart feels this is a needed thing in our particular community, as it is in all communities," Angelou said. "I think it's a needed use."

Hunters Run resident Patricia Mintz said she has lived in that area for about eight years.

She said one reason she moved there is for the wildlife she can watch and feed.

Mintz said she knows the city will get tax revenue, but she pleaded with council to keep this one small beautiful area.

Hunters Run resident Lynn Morris said the developer has been more than helpful.

He pointed out the facility's employees would eat in Gahanna and patronize other businesses.

Morris said Trilogy plans to clean up abandoned houses on the property.

"Most of all, I can't think of a better thing to go in than a senior citizens (facility) that would benefit (the community)," he said. "Win, lose or draw, I'm glad you're taking a second look."

Mayor Tom Kneeland said the administration has been positive on the project because it's consistent with the land use.

"In addition to being consistent with land use, it's also consistent with transitional use," he said.

Peter Massey, Trilogy's vice president of development, thanked council members for their time and energy spent on the project.

"We've already made several adjustments to the proposed project," he said. "We're willing to make additional (ones). We're proposing to build a beautifully landscaped project."

He said the facility is needed in the community, and will provide tax benefits and create jobs.

Mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla

3-D MAP OF LOCATION